NXNE 2010: What's in store for Thursday night
- June 17, 2010 9:21 AM |
- By Lee Ferguson
Walking home last night, I noticed a disproportionate number of messy-haired guys in black skinny jeans skulking outside of the clubs in my Queen West 'hood, which can only mean one thing: Toronto's annual North by Northeast music and film festival is ramping up.
This year's NXNE, which runs from June 14-20, is offering up a veritable buffet of bands - 650 in all - as well as an impressive programme of band-themed films for fans to feast on over the course of what promises to be an insanely busy weekend.
My previous years as a festivalgoer have taught me to just slap on the NXNE wristband, dive in and sample a bit of everything. But for those who are finding the jam-packed schedule a little daunting, I'll be blogging about some of the more noteworthy acts that will be blowing through town this weekend.
Traditionally, NXNE hits its stride on the Thursday night, and this year that seems doubly true. (I am already attempting to find ways to clone myself.) Without further ado, here is a rundown of the acts I'm hoping to catch tonight.
Friendo (The Great Hall, 8 p.m.)
This Calgary, Alberta trio boasts Women's Michael Wallace on drums and has already received one Pitchfork shout-out for their low-fi sound. If the stellar reviews for their St. Ives debut, Cold Toads, are any indication, Friendo's offbeat combination of atonal guitars and mumbled vocal tracks could well make them the next big indie band to break out. (Keeners are advised to stick around to see Wallace grace the stage once more with Women at 10 p.m.)
X (Yonge-Dundas Square, 10 p.m.)
My one can't-miss act at this year's fest, the legendary L.A. band that spearheaded the West Coast punk scene way back in the late '70s is in town for a rare (and free!) live performance. Their blend of racing, rockabilly-tinged guitars, whip-smart lyrics and note-perfect harmonies influenced countless bands that followed, and fans ranging from Henry Rollins to Joan Jett have declared the band's rousing live shows are among the best they've ever seen.
The Ghost Is Dancing (Horseshoe Tavern, 1 a.m.)
A Toronto-based indie rock collective destined to give Broken Social Scene a run for its money, The Ghost Is Dancing proved to be my favourite discovery at last year's NXNE. The term "crowd-pleasing" must have been coined for this crew, whose spirited guitars and soaring, hooky choruses could make even the grumpiest listener want to get up and dance. And if last year's joyous live show was any indication, there will be much ghosty-dancing tonight. Don't be surprised if you feel compelled to join the band onstage by set's end.
I'll blog again tonight, but until then, feel free to weigh in with your suggestions about must-see acts I should try to see over the next few days. And if any of you have a chance to catch the new Diodes documentary that's screening as part of NXNE's film section this afternoon (NFB, 3 p.m.), please report back with word on how the Diodes are doing these days. Word is, band members will be in attendance...
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